I might as well have come out of the womb wearing a Buffalo Bills jersey, because from the start I never had another option. If anyone grew up in a one team, die-hard fan household, they'll understand this sentiment, but no one understands it more so than Western New Yorkers. My dad grew up in a small town outside of Buffalo, which meant he never had another choice either. He, and his whole side of the family, are Buffalo fans for life, which unfortunately for them means watching the Bills and Sabres year after year, and unfortunately for me, means passing it along through generations.
I say unfortunately, but really, I love being a Bills fan. There's something about watching your team annually struggle and disappoint that really brings a fan base together. The atmosphere of New Era Field (or my favorite, Ralph Wilson Stadium), really can't be described. Sitting in those stadium seats, a sea of red, white, and blue, around you, the crowd booing and cheering in harmony as the game clock ticks down, is a feeling I could never get tired of, and I know I never will. Each shout song is a victory, and we hold onto every little victory and support each other through it all.
This year, after many trials and an equal amount of failures in the search for a franchise QB to lead the team, we got some hope in the form of rookie Josh Allen. I don't think I've met a Bills fan that dislikes Allen, and for good reason. While he's still a rookie, and expectedly has some things to work on, he's giving the team and its fans the sense that we have something to look forward to, and this is the feeling we cling to each year. Let's just hope that the good feelings are right this time.
Despite the losses, and the fact that we're already out of the playoff race this season, New Era Field will still see a showing of dedicated football fans each time the team goes out to play. Even in freezing cold Buffalo weather, you'll still see epic, over-the-top tailgating all day long, and if you're lucky, even after the ban, there's sure to be some table slamming somewhere in Orchard Park.
One of the best things about being a Bills fan is you know that there are no bandwagon fans. Every Bills fan you see is loyal and committed to the team, and odds have some sort of connection to Western New York. I hold onto this as a college student in New England, surrounded on all sides by (a lot of bandwagon) Pats fans and disciples of Tom Brady. So when I see someone here on campus, or anywhere not in Buffalo really, wearing Bills gear, it makes me feel a connection to home and to the amazing community of the #BillsMafia. Truly the best fans in the NFL, and a community I'm proud to be a part of.